As I mentioned in my last article, I have been having some really interesting conversations lately about how people live their digital lives!
Aside: These conversations have been a part of another project I am currently working on. So at least until that project is finished, I have to avoid saying too much about them on here - something about self-plagiarism, apparently! *Eyeroll*
All the same, I wanted to share a bit about what I've been up to, since I have been working on this a lot over the last couple of weeks (and let's be honest here, I've left it a bit late to dream up another topic for this week's article!)
That said, I believe in writing content that has value for you - dear reader - without requiring you to be at all interested in me or my stupid life! So instead of rambling about the various projects I have going on, here are some of the lessons and tips I learned over the last couple of weeks!
To find out about what people consider to be their "digital treasure", and what they do to look after it.
How? By asking people to give me a "tour of their digital space".
Why? Because I'm nosy! But also because I care about helping people. The only way to help people properly is to really, truly, actually understand what people love, what they want to achieve and what their obstacles are.
Lesson 1: When You're A Space Invader
The first thing, when someone has been game enough to let you into their space (digital or otherwise), is to be respectful of that space.
I made sure to tell my people that they would be in charge of what they show me, or choose not to, and they would always have control of the mouse and keyboards.
Lesson 2: Letting People Be
I was specifically interested in finding out about the different ways people look after their digital stuff. So by definition, I was looking at people doing things differently from how I would have done them. There is rarely a right or wrong way to do things, but as I am someone who writes a blog on this subject, I was worried that people might feel self-conscious showing me around their digital spaces.
While I did come across one or two ways of doing things that I probably wouldn't do myself, I certainly picked up several really useful ideas. They gave me tons of food for thought.
Lesson 3: Capturing what people say
Armed with my laptop, a borrowed microphone and some vague opening questions, I went to people's homes to do the interviews.
I took notes on my laptop while I was listening, which went flawlessly. Apart from when my laptop crashed... and when the other laptop I borrowed decided it was a good time to start installing updates... and when the audio recording was disrupted by interference, because it had been near someone phone while it received messages.
Moral of the story: Have some pen and paper nearby too!
Lesson 4: Afterwards
Just FYI, if you record interviews and decide you're going to type up a transcript of your conversation, then - unless you're a genius - you're unlikely to be able to just play the recording through once and type it up in real time. As a rule of thumb, you probably want to allow around three times the duration of the recording for typing up a transcript.
I am sure it is self-evident that I am no expert - so do hit me with any other suggestions or considerations that I missed.
I hope some of these observations are interesting and potentially helpful if you have a similar project going on. Like, if you have been following Sophie's guide on how to digitise audio cassette tapes, perhaps transcribing conversations is a natural follow on!
Thanks so much for reading, as always!
This article was part of my Deep Dive into Personal Digital Archiving series.
Series Intro: Why Stuff Matters (to us)!
Previous Article: Looking into Other People's Digital Spaces